Style and suspense was the air of the evening as the 12 finalists in the Regional Mid West Local Development Company Enterprise Awards gathered at the Inn at Dromoland on May 19th 2016 to find out who will represent the Mid West at the National Awards in Dublin in September.
As each finalist set up their stand displaying their business the atmosphere was one of celebration and fun. It was a great showcase of the wide range of businesses that are being started in the Mid West with the support of Local Development Companies and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
Elaine Mac Grath of PAUL Partnership, MC for the evening, opened the evening by recognising the range of businesses involved, stating that, “while the recovery is slow, opportunity is there. These businesses are an inspiration for others and the Mid West LDC Enterprise Awards are about recognising their hard work and achievements. It also gives these 12 local businesses an excellent opportunity to build their profile locally, regionally, and nationally.”
Marie Price Bolger, Chair of the Irish Local Development Network echoed the importance of business start-ups in the economic recovery and noted that across Ireland over 6,000 businesses were started in 2015 with the support of Local Development Companies and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. Jim Lynch, Regional Manager with Department of Social Protection spoke of the challenges and rewards that self employment can bring and congratulated the 12 finalists on their success. Gillian Horan of local marketing and branding company, The Pudding, was inspirational in telling her story of setting up a business and gave some great advice on branding for small businesses.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the top three businesses that will represent the Mid West in the National LDC Enterprise Awards in September. The three winners were Kaye Faulkener of Partners in HomeCare, Kevin Lynch of Airmid Natural Irish Skincare, and Laura Fitzgerald of Future Heroes Childcare, which is based in Limerick City. Elaine Mac Grath, PAUL Partnership, said, “We are delighted and proud to have 3 great businesses representing the Mid West at the National Awards. We wish them, and all the finalists, the very best and we are confident that their businesses will continue to grow.”
A brief profile of all 12 finalists shows the range of businesses showcased at the Awards is included below.
Profile of Finalists
James Norris, Nenagh Denture Repairs – After 15 years working for other companies and finding work dried up, Jim decided to set up on his own. According to Jim “Being made redundant in your 50s does not mean you have to give up.” Based in Nenagh and supported by North Tipperary LEADER Partnership.
Yvonne Delahunt, The Little Chef – A specialised Bakery that caters for a ranged of dietary requirements including gluten intolerance. Based in Nenagh and supported by North Tipperary LEADER Partnership.
Darragh Murphy, Murphy’s Bespoke Joinery – Designs and creates beautiful bespoke furniture and joinery pieces. Based in Kilmallock and supported by Ballyhoura Development.
Emma Stack, Divas and Dolls – Makeup Artist and Beautician. Provides regular beauty services but also focuses on semi-permanent eye-lashes which are suited to those recovering from illness. Stockist of a range of chemical free creams and oils to suit all skin types and ages. Based in Abbeyfeale and supported by West Limerick Resources.
Shane O’Connor, FealeFit – Shane set up FealeFit Fitness Studio, turning his interest and hobby into a steady career. More recently, he has established FealeFit Kids which offers weekly kids activity classes for children that don’t have an interest in general sporting activities. Based in Abbeyfeale and supported by West Limerick Resources.
Monika Grabowska – In business since 2015, Monika specialises in photographing new born babies as well as family portraits while offering wedding and corporate photography. Uniquely, Monika makes many of the props and outfits for new-born and children photography sessions. Based in Clonmel and supported by South Tipperary Development Company.
Marika Dubova, Tipperary Hackney Cabs – Marika moved to Ireland from Latvia in 2001. On losing her job in 2010 Marika successfully set up a successful hackney service in South Tipperary. Based in Tipperary Town and supported by South Tipperary Development Company.
Judy Reardon, The Design & Craft Studio. The Studio is a platform where Judy sells her own work while at the same time is able to give local crafters an opportunity to sell their work. Based in Charleville and supported by Ballyhoura Development.
Kaye Faulkner, Partners in HomeCare – Kaye worked in the nursing profession in London for over 30 years before returning to Ireland in 2009 to care for both her parents. Kaye identified a gap in the market for good quality homecare. Partners in HomeCare commenced trading in August 2014 and provides a non-medical service to clients in their own homes. The business has generated four fulltime jobs and four part-time jobs to date. Based in Ennis and supported by Clare Local Development Company.
Kevin Lynch, Airmid Natural Irish Skincare – Manufactures a range of products suitable for sensitive skin, acne and eczema including shaving soap, solid shampoo bars and lip balms. Kevin Lynch has run Airmid Natural Irish skincare since October 2015 and was previously a rigid truck driver before a work related injury meant that he could no longer drive commercial trucks. Based in Kilfenora and supported by Clare Local Development Company.
James Collins, Jimmy C Make Up Academy – Going back to education kick started James Collins’ move into self employment. Following his passion for make up, in less than a year James has already built a successful business with potential to grow. Based in Limerick City and supported by PAUL Partnership.
Laura Fitzgerald, Future Heroes Childcare – Laura is joint owner and manger of the childcare business Future Heroes based in Limerick City. In 2014 her employer decided to close the business, Laura made the move from worker to owner and she, along with her co owner, Niamh have built a successfully and growing business. Based in Limerick City and supported by PAUL Partnership.
About the Mid West LDC Enterprise Network
The Mid West Local Development Company (LDC) Enterprise Awards were organised by the Mid West LDC Enterprise Network. The members of the Network are Ballyhoura Development, Clare Local Development Company, North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, PAUL Partnership, South Tipperary Development Company and West Limerick Resources. Since January 2011, over 1,800 businesses have started with the support of Mid West Local Development Companies and the Back to Work Enterprise Scheme from Department of Social Protection. Local Development Companies deliver enterprise supports under the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP).
The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015-2017 is funded by the Irish Government and co-funded by the European Social Fund and includes a special allocation under the Youth Employment Initiative.